Nothing is certain in life but death, taxes, and paperwork. Even when you’re an astronaut.
Buzz Aldrin, the NASA astronaut who was the second man to walk on the moon, has revealed the US Customs form he had to sign after making his way back to Earth.
Instead of declaring his baggage or duty-free chocolate, the form mentions he’s bringing back “MOON ROCK AND MOON DUST SAMPLES.”
“Imagine spending 8 days in space, including nearly 22 hours on the Moon and returning home to Earth only to have to go through customs!” the famed space explorer tweeted this week.
According to Space.com, which first reported on the document, the trio of moon landing astronauts – Mr Aldrin, plus Michael Collins and Neil Armstrong – all filled out such a form on 24 July, 1969, after the Apollo 11 spacecraft splashed down into the Pacific ocean.
Though it looks official, it was meant as a bit of a joke.
“Yes, it’s authentic,” NASA spokesperson John Yembrick told the site. “It was a little joke at the time.”
The form also asks the astronauts if they are feeling sick or carrying any illnesses with the. They had to quarantine for weeks in a NASA trailer and wear special containment suits before rejoining the public.
These days, astronauts still have to fill out a customs form, of a more garden variety nature. International cooperation in space spans nations across the globe, with launches in the United States, Russia, and elsewhere.
Perhaps the forms will be updated for future attempts at exploring the moon. Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos intends to get humans back on the moon with his space company, Blue Origin, and recently flew on a test flight into the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere.